by Hakim Sanai

English version by Peter Lamborn Wilson and Nasrollah Pourjavady
Original Language Persian/Farsi

Collect your mind's fragments
     that you may fill yourself
          bit by bit with Meaning:
the slave who meditates
     on the mysteries of Creation
          for sixty minutes
gains more merit
     than from sixty years
          of fasting and prayer.
     high-soaring hawk
          of Intellect's wrist
resting at last
     on the flowering branch
          of the Heart:
this world and the next
     are hidden beneath
          its folded wing.
Now perched before
     the mud hut
          which is Earth
now clasping with its talons
     a branch of the Tree
          of Paradise
soaring here
     striking there -- each moment
          fresh prey
gobbling a mouthful of moonlight
     wheeling away
          beyond the sun
darting between the Great Wheel's
     star-set spokes, it rips to shreds
          the Footstool and the Throne
a Pigeon's feather
     in its beak --
          or a comet --
till finally free of everything
     it alights, silent
          on a topmost bough.
Hunting is king's sport,
     not just anyone's
but you?
     you've hooded the falcon
          -- what can I say? --
clipped its pinions
     broken its wings...

-- from The Drunken Universe: An Anthology of Persian Sufi Poetry, Translated by Peter Lamborn Wilson / Translated by Nasrollah Pourjavady

<<Previous Poem | More Poems by Hakim Sanai | Next Poem >>

/ Image by Hello, I'm Chuck /

View All Poems by Hakim Sanai

Commentary by Ivan M. Granger

This is such an interesting poem to me on several levels. Sometimes Persian poets will make reference to a king's hunting hawk. It is an image of noble bearing, heights of vision, and fierce service. But here Sanai compares meditation itself to a hunting hawk.

     high-soaring hawk
          of Intellect's wrist
resting at last
     on the flowering branch
          of the Heart:

That's a great element of the metaphor to contemplate: meditation begins with the intellect, but leaves the intellect behind. It then soars high into the heavens, before coming to rest in the wild, naturally flowering heart. That right there is worth its thinking about more deeply.

soaring here
     striking there -- each moment
          fresh prey...

But the lines that describe meditation as a hunter are what most grab my attention. Meditation boldly hunts all of existence, vanquishing everything between earth and heaven. Every single instant is prey for meditation. "Each moment fresh prey..."

For meditation, everything is prey, everything is food. And, as meditation hunts, the meditator sits still, watching in wonder, as this fierce hawk clears away the multiplicities of existence in the vision of unity.

But hawking is the game of kings. Here's our challenge: Do we sport with the world as kings, or do we clip meditation's wings?

Recommended Books: Hakim Sanai

The Longing in Between: Sacred Poetry from Around the World (A Poetry Chaikhana Anthology) Real Thirst: Poetry of the Spiritual Journey The Drunken Universe: An Anthology of Persian Sufi Poetry Islamic Mystical Poetry: Sufi Verse from the Early Mystics to Rumi Perfume of the Desert: Inspirations from Sufi Wisdom
More Books >>